If someone told you there is one thing you can do to increase your chances of getting a job offer when you graduate, would you do it? In a challenging job market, internships may be the best thing that you can do for your future; especially when many employers use their internship programs as their primary entry-level recruiting tools. The good news is, according to results of the latest NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) internship survey, employers expect to increase internship hiring by about seven percent this academic year.*
There is no doubt about it, internships are ‘in’. Curious why internships are so valuable? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should NOT miss out on having an internship experience while attending Loyola.
TOP FIVE REASONS TO GET AN INTERNSHIP
1. You get to ‘test drive’ your career. Real world experience helps you make more informed career decisions.
Would you buy a car without a test drive? Choose a college before doing your research? Obtaining an internship is your opportunity to explore careers in different fields or investigate areas of interest. It’s almost impossible to truly know if you’ll enjoy a certain job or career until you try it, and an internship is the perfect way to “test the waters.” Internships allow you to learn first hand whether your supposed “dream job” is actually a nightmare.
2. Overcome the “Experience Required” criterion for many full time positions.
Employers like it when you have hands-on experience. In fact, it may be difficult to compete for the better job opportunities if you haven’t completed at least one internship. Interns develop career-related skills and demonstrate them to potential employers. Many skills are best learned on the job, and even internships that are not directly related to your career provide you with opportunities to demonstrate your transferable skills, such as leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills. Employers want to know what you can do for them, and they are especially interested when you’ve already done it for someone else.
3. Connect the classroom to the “world of work”.
As an intern you will gain immediate career-related experiences that complement your academic credentials. Not only can you apply the theories that you learn in class to real experiences, but you can take those experiences back into the classroom. An internship introduces you to the world of work and how work gets completed beyond academia. Completing your workplace assignments and navigating an office environment not only enhances your resume but increases your confidence.
4. Develop your network
Developing professional contacts in the field can help you turn your career plans into reality. If you want to know where the opportunities are in an industry, the people you want to talk to are the ones already working in it. People who know your potential and work ethic are happy to pass along tips about opportunities, share your information with their friends, and provide you with suggestions on how and where to look for positions once you graduate. Leverage this group of professionals into a network to help you land the position you want.
5. Get a job offer! Most employers will hire successful interns over candidates they’ve just met or who apply online.
Internships provide experience that you can highlight whenever you apply for full-time jobs, especially those that specify workplace experience. Many employers use internships as extended interviews for full-time employment and hire exclusively from their internship pool, although there are no guarantees. During your internship, your mentors and professional colleagues can introduce you to potential employers, plus provide references and describe your accomplishments to assist in your job search. What better way for them to get to know you than to let them try you out for eight to twelve weeks? If you succeed and excel, you will definitely have a competitive edge over the average online resume submitter.
We recommend all students complete at least one internship (paid or unpaid, for-credit or not-for-credit) before graduation. Internship opportunities are posted on Loyola’s EMPLOYOLA, CareerInsider, Internships.com and GoingGlobal, all found on the Career Development Center’s website, as well organizations’ websites and several internship websites. If you need help finding an internship, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 865-3860 for an appointment with your career coach.
*from NACE’s 2011 Internship Survey